Posts Tagged ‘Tournament’

Dakarai Tucker (Utes #14) drills 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to give Utes 63-60 lead.

Dakarai Tucker (Utes #14) drills 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to give Utes 63-60 lead.

The Washington Huskies pushed Utah to the edge, overcoming a 12 point first half deficit, but the Utes hold out late and beat UW 67-61 in the first game of the opening round of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This win locks up Utah’s second round matchup against No. 1 seed Arizona tomorrow.

The turning point and play-of-the-game both came on a clutch 3-point basket made by Dakarai Tucker with 40 seconds left to give the Utes a 63-60 lead over UW.  After that, Utah hit four free throws to Washington’s one.

Utah’s player of the game was undoubtedly Delon Wright who recorded 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and 2 blocks.

The Utes led early, getting out to a 30-18 lead with 4:37 remaining in the first half.

That lead was chipped away at by the Huskies behind 16 points off the bench from Darin Johnson, who led all scorers, until Washington eventually took a 41-40 lead with 11:34 remaining on a Johnson layup.

It was back and forth from that point until eventually the game was tied 60-60 with just over a minute remaining.

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I have gone over and over my Southwest region and get the same result. I can’t get any confidence when picking the Notre Dame/Purdue game and then when picking the Kansas/winner of previous game. Oh well, that’s the madness aspect of March Madness.

Game 1: Kansas is another favorite to win the whole tournament and I fully expect Kansas to be on cruise control past Boston University.

Game 2: UNLV and Illinois was a tough pick, but I think UNLV’s quickness and toughness in the paint will prevail over Big 10‘s Illinois.

Game 3: I know this game is going to destroy me since I seem to be the only one picking Vanderbilt to win, but 30 wins against nobody is not enough to push Richmond over the top but we’ll see.

Game 4: Louisville has not been the same powerhouse from the last couple years, but Coach Rick Petino has been to the dance many times before and will get through the 1st round safely.

Game 5: VCU won a spot in the field of 64 and has been yapping to the media about how deserving they are to be in the tourney for beating USC in their play-in game. Well, beat Georgetown and we’ll talk, but I don’t see that happening.

Game 6: Purdue had a lot of success this season in the Big 10 and even though they lost guard Kelsey Barlow to misconduct, St. Peter’s will not be able to cool the Boilermakers.

Game 7: Another tough game to pick was Texas A&M over Florida State. The Seminoles have been gaining a lot of steam in pick popularity but I think the Aggies pull this one out. Either way, winner of this one loses to Notre Dame next round.

Game 8: As mentioned before, Notre Dame will not have any trouble with Akron. I fully expect the Irish to make an appearance in the “Elite Eight”.

It begins…

I decided to post each region of the bracket as the tournament draws near, starting with the East Region.

Game 1: Ohio State is a favorite among many analysts to win the tournament. They secured the #1 overall seed and should have no issues running through either U of Texas San. Antonio or Alabama State.

Game 2: This was a hard one. One the one hand, you have Villanova. Big East member and perennial tournament participant. Villanova is battle tested and experienced. George Mason, however, is on a tear. They have been very impressive going 11-1 in their last 12 games. Their defense will be key in this game.

Game 3: West Virginia secured a 5 seed as an at-large out of the Big East and beat both Purdue and Notre Dame during the regular season. UAB and Clemson will have to play each other for the chance to play West Virginia in the first place. This will prove to be either a huge disadvantage with exhausting players, or a huge advantage where UAB/Clemson can get a rhythm going and nerves under control. I don’t think West Virginia should have issues moving on.

Game 4: Princeton stamped their ticket to the dance by beating Harvard in the Ivy League Championship Game on a buzzer beater, shattering Harvard’s hopes of playing in their first “Big Dance” since 1946. Kentucky is no Harvard, and it’ll take more than Princeton has to beat them.

Game 5: Xavier/Marquette is another matchup between a mid-major conference champion against a middle of the pack Big East team. I feel like this one could go either way, depending on which team can sustain momentum, but after Dayton ousted Xavier in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, I’m hesitant to think they will beat a Big East team.

Game 6: This one is an open and close case. Syracuse is a better team than Indiana State and barring a miracle, will move on to the second round.

Game 7: Washington and Georgia is another tough one to call. Not because the teams are equally good, but because they are equally inconsistant. Washington won the PAC-10 tournament with a victory over top seeded Arizona but lost to Kentucky, a team that Georgia defeated earlier in the season. That said, Washington is the hotter team and should have the edge going into the first round.

Game 8: Another open and shut case. North Carolina is playing at a high level that Long Island can’t handle.

Let the madness begin!!!

(Coming soon – West Region)

As usual, there will be a play-in game between 2 lower tier automatic qualifying teams for a final spot in the NCAA Tournament as a 16 seed. This season, however, the NCAA has chosen to include 3 more teams into the tournament that normally would have been on the outside looking in.

So this year, there will be a total of 4 play-in games instead of 1, but the strange thing is, 2 games will be for #16 seeds, the other 2 will be for a #11 and a #12 seed. This just doesn’t make sense to me.

I understand that the 3 extra spots are at-large bids that normally would not be given so they should have to play their way in to the tournament. Well, if that’s the case, how come the last 2 #10 seeds to get in, under the old rules, don’t have to play their way in and 2 bottom tier auto-qualifiers from the Big Sky or the Sun Belt do?

So, what I think they should have done is to take the teams that normally would be #16 seeds and have them play against the (would be) #15 seeds for the last 4 spots as the #16 seeds and the new at-larges just take their spots as #11 seeds and everyone else slides down.

This way, the #11 seed that normally would have made the cut last year isn’t penalized by having to play another at-large team of equal talent before the tourney even starts.

I’m sure this will be realized and rectified by next season.